Google has introduced a monthly “account activity” report which allows you to see what data it has collected about you on all its services. That includes Google Search, Google+, Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps … actually its a very long list, so I’ll stop there!
This is an important development because Google recently forced all its users to accept a change in its service agreement, which now allows Google to put all the information it gathers together, from all the Google services you are using.
By introducing the activity report, Google are providing you with a way to track what they are tracking. This is genuinely useful, and will help you to understand one aspect of the privacy you are giving up, and keep tabs on it over time.
What it doesn’t tell us is, what impact collecting and combining all this data may have on us. It tells us nothing about what use Google makes of this information, or anyone else Google chooses to share the information with. And let’s not forget the risk from hackers.
So when you look at what data Google has on you, ask yourself: What might the consequences be, of use by Google, or of authorised use by unknown third parties, or by hackers should a security breach happen?
Oh, one more, let’s not forget the US government, or any other government and what they might do with this information, which in the US they seem to have easy access to, without judicial approval.
How To Get A Google Account Activity Report
I recommend that anyone who uses Google sign up for these reports, which will be emailed monthly, to help you understand the implications of using Google services.
With this information you’ll be in a better position to decide what services to use, and precisely what to let Google collect about you. For example you might decide to stop Google saving your search history, or remove information from your Google+ profile and so on.
Get yours here: Sign Up for Google Account Activity Reports
Here’s what Google say you’ll get:
With Account Activity Reports you can learn what’s going on in your account, e.g. how many emails you have sent and received, how often you have searched on Google, from which countries you have logged in and how often your YouTube videos have been viewed.
Let me know what you find and if it has any effect on your use of any Google services!